WT Policy: What needs to change?
Jan 31, 2002 14:40
1. Report matter to the police first.
What does the Watchtower say? Note the 97 WT on direction for reporting what is bad:
w97 8/15 26-30 Why Report What Is Bad?
Appreciating the Value of Reproof Among Jehovah’s people, however, there is a different attitude toward reproof. Godly men and women deeply appreciate the arrangement Jehovah has made to help erring ones inside the Christian congregation. They recognize such discipline as an expression of his loving-kindness.—Hebrews 12:6-11.
What is that arrangement? Is it going to the police when a crime is committed? See below.
In our day too, Jehovah’s servants can become involved in serious wrongdoing, even those who have been faithful for many years. Recognizing that the elders can assist, most take the initiative to approach them for help. (James 5:13-16) But sometimes a wrongdoer may try to cover up his sin, as did King David. What should we do if we come to know about serious wrongdoing in the congregation?
Whose Responsibility Is It?
When elders learn about serious wrongdoing, they approach the individual involved to give needed help and correction. It is the elders’ responsibility to judge such ones inside the Christian congregation. Keeping a close watch on its spiritual condition, they assist and admonish anyone who is taking an unwise or wrong step.—1 Corinthians 5:12, 13; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 5:1, 2.
So does this just apply to slander of moral crimes committed by adults that break bible law? Notice the scripture used to define wrongdoing.
But what if you are not an elder and you come to know about some serious wrongdoing on the part of another Christian? Guidelines are found in the Law that Jehovah gave to the nation of Israel . The Law stated that if a person was a witness to apostate acts, sedition, murder, or certain other serious crimes, it was his responsibility to report it and to testify to what he knew. Leviticus 5:1 states: “Now in case a soul sins in that he has heard public cursing and he is a witness or he has seen it or has come to know of it, if he does not report it, then he must answer for his error.”—Compare Deuteronomy 13:6-8; Esther 6:2; Proverbs 29:24.
Though not under the Mosaic Law, Christians today can be guided by the principles behind it. (Psalm 19:7, 8) So if you learn about the serious wrongdoing of a fellow Christian, what should you do?
Where are we given the right here to call the police? Not one word offered. So who do you go to? See below.
Handling the Matter
First of all, it is important that there is valid reason to believe that serious wrongdoing has really occurred. “Do not become a witness against your fellowman without grounds,” stated the wise man. “Then you would have to be foolish with your lips.”—Proverbs 24:28.
You may decide to go directly to the elders. It is not wrong to do so. Usually, however, the most loving course is to approach the person involved. Perhaps the facts are not as they appear to be. Or perhaps the situation is already being handled by the elders. Calmly discuss the matter with the person. If there remains reason to believe that a serious wrong has been committed, encourage him or her to approach the elders for help, and explain the wisdom of doing so. Do not talk to others about the matter, for that would be gossip.
If the person does not report to the elders within a reasonable period of time, then you should. One or two elders will then discuss the matter with the accused. The elders need to “search and investigate and inquire thoroughly” to see if wrong has been done. If it has, they will handle the case according to Scriptural guidelines.—Deuteronomy 13:12 -14.
Who investigates the crime first? THE ELDERS! Yet still no mention of going to the police. Then if there are only one witness what do you have to do? Report it to police then? See Below.
At least two witnesses are required to establish a charge of wrongdoing. (John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28) If the person denies the charge and your testimony is the only one, the matter will be left in Jehovah’s hands. (1 Timothy 5:19, 24, 25) This is done in the knowledge that all things are “openly exposed” to Jehovah and that if the person is guilty, eventually his sins will “catch up” with him.—Hebrews 4:13 ; Numbers 32:23.
There you have it the basis of discouraging victims to go to the police. They are clearly instructed to leave it in Jehovah’s hands. That means do nothing. Can you warn any other parents whose children may be in harms way? See Below.
But suppose the person does deny the charge and you are the only witness against him. Could you now be open to a countercharge of slander? No, not unless you have gossiped to those not involved in the matter. It is not slanderous to report conditions affecting a congregation to those having authority and responsibility to oversee and correct matters. It is, in fact, in line with our desire always to do what is correct and loyal.—Compare Luke 1:74, 75.
So if you gossip and tell others about your child being molested you could be charged with slander and expelled from the congregation. What is the reason why? See Below.
Maintaining Holiness in the Congregation
One reason for reporting wrongdoing is that it works to preserve the cleanness of the congregation. Jehovah is a clean God, a holy God. He requires all those who worship him to be spiritually and morally clean. His inspired Word admonishes: “As obedient children, quit being fashioned according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, but, in accord with the Holy One who called you, do you also become holy yourselves in all your conduct, because it is written: ‘You must be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16) Individuals who practice uncleanness or wrongdoing can bring defilement and Jehovah’s disfavor upon an entire congregation unless action is taken to correct or remove them. — Compare Joshua, chapter 7.
The congregation does their own dirty laundry and keeps outsiders uninformed. This is the basis of how the congregation operates. Jehovah’s Witnesses are NOT free to go to the police. They are required to OBEY the direction of the elders. If they do not they are disfellowshipped. Thus Watchtower Policy requires a child molestation victim to go to the ELDERS FIRST and this is the error of WT policy.
2. A pedophile should never hold a position of responsibility within the congregation.
The 1-1-97 Watchtower seemed to indicate this would be the policy for Jehovah’s Witnesses, yet in just three short months a letter was sent (along with more to follow) to Bodies of Elders that changed that policy. The 97 letter stated:
“It may be possible that some who were guilty of child molestation were or are now serving as elders, ministerial servants, or regular or special pioneers. Others may have been guilty of child molestation before they were baptized. The bodies of elders should not query individuals.”
This statement made provision for pedophile to continue to serve. That was further collaborated by the 6-1-01 letter to Bodies of Elders in England which states:
“There is one exception to the above direction: The elders may have written to the branch office and given full details about a former child abuser who is currently serving as an elder or ministerial servant. In such a case, if the branch office has decided that he can be appointed or continue serving in a position of trust because the sin occurred many years ago and because he has lived an exemplary life since then, his name should not appear on the List, nor is it necessary to pass on information about the brother’s past sin if he moves to another congregation unless contrary instructions have been given by the branch.”
Child Molesters are clearly given positions of responsibility within the congregation at the direction of WT Policy. Time passing should be no factor for a pedophile.
3. Child molesters should never be allowed to participate in the door to door ministry.
Is this WT policy? Please note the 1-1-97 Watchtower which initially established molester policy. What would a child molester who is newly released from prison be required to do to show his repentance? See Below.
w97 1/1 29 Let Us Abhor What Is Wicked
”Depending on the law of the land where he lives, the molester may well have to serve a prison term or face other sanctions from the State…’If he seems to be repentant, he will be encouraged to make spiritual progress, share in the field service..”
A newly released child molester is required by WT Policy to call at the homes of the unknowing public. THAT IS WT POLICY!
This information shows without doubt something is terribly wrong in this matter. This “Policy” presents a danger to children within the organization as well as those who are met in the door to door work. If the Governing Body really wishes to be a “faithful slave” they should move at ONCE to correct this mistake and protect the children.